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Monday, March 26, 2012

S.P.A.Z. - And Bounty Hunters

I should have checked out what the update was earlier when I saw Steam update Space Pirates And Zombies on Tuesday. Turns out, they released an update for the game that now includes a... 4th.. ? Faction? The Bounty Hunters. I'm still in Chapter 4 though, so I don't know what influence they have in the game in earlier chapters, but bounty hunters are proving to be a neat addition to the game.

The first thing you notice about them in your (randomly generated) galaxy is that there will be some small, yellow icons next to a few sectors. They indicate that that sector has the bounty hunters' stronghold, and will extort some of your REZ if you pass by that sector and any sector adjacent to it, where the bounty hunters operate. This sounds like it would be bad, especially as a space pirate that are busting through UTA warp defense blockades and destroying other people's ships, who would put up bounties on your head, but you CAN go to the bounty hunters' stronghold to pay off your bounty, and even earn some respect by paying more REZ, or proving your worth in some pre-set Arena combats. By gaining respect, you can hire the bounty hunters to do things like clearing warp gates for you, or in Chapter 4, fight off zombies to the point of clearing out the infection from a whole sector. They are some very strong help to have, if you can afford to pay their toll prices, which is usually something like 14% to 25% of your current REZ count, at least from my experience.

Bounty Hunter Stronghold
Speaking of Arena combats, these are some pretty interesting challenges the game has to offer now. There are 150 challenges in total; 10 ladders, 5 tiers per ladder, and 3 difficulty levels per tier. Each challenge will put you in a pre-set ship, and pit you against a few other pre-set ships and see if you have the piloting skills to win against tough enemies on different ships, with different tech levels as well. At the final tier, they reward you with some high-leveled specialists, as well as the REZ prize and respect.

Additionally, the bounty hunters also have 10 new ships for you to take (by force) as well; 2 of each size classes. These ships feel like it's much stronger than the previously available ships from my first impression, and have been proving to be fairly useful to have on your side, while also being a tough opponent when opposing them. Don't lose these ships to the zombies!

Along with this patch came a few rebalancing of some weapons, particularly nerfing cannons, which was easily overpowered before the patch. However, the biggest change IMO is the nerf on the zombie critters. There are 33% less of them now, and also do 33% less damage as well on your ship. I particularly like how there are less of them to shoot down, as well as not having frame rate issues with having too many critters on screen, along with all the other craziness that would usually be on screen. If that isn't enough to reduce the drop in frame rate, then the game will also omit some effects to keep gameplay smooth, which is a great feature as well for those with varying computer specs.

More details on the patch update can be found here.

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